As Ralph Curnow’s painting vividly reminds us, the morning of July 31st, 1715, revealed the aftermath of a terrible tragedy. 297 years ago today wrecked ships and exhausted survivors were strewn along 25 miles of Florida’s beaches. Survivors faced the immediate challenges of a castaway’s life among the hostile tribes who controlled this coastline. At least a thousand of their shipmates had not survived to become castaways, perishing in the great hurricane that tore apart the 1715 Treasure Fleet. In commemorating an event like the loss of the 1715 Fleet, we must always be mindful of the human tragedy that underlies the history and the archaeology we so eagerly recount here.
P.S. Today also marks the 20th Anniversary of another historic Fleet related event… the Shouppé find. For more information go to our Articles Link.